The Offaly hurlers were given a reality check after an emphatic victory for the Limerick hurlers this Sunday afternoon on a 1-24 to 0-10 scoreline in Tullamore.
The big win in O’Connor Park maintains the Limerick promotion push after an unbeaten start to Division 1B after two rounds while Offaly fell from the heights of their opening day win over Dublin.
This was a seventh successive league for these sides to meet and Limerick’s biggest win over The Fathful County in a decade.
Offaly came into this round two game with huge belief after beating Dublin in Croke Park last week but John Kiely’s Limerick produced a top display, based on a big work-rate.
Limerick lined out with the same starting line-up that beat Laois in round one in the Gaelic Grounds.
The visitors were 0-12 to 0-7 ahead at half time.
The sides were level on five occasions up to the 16th minute but Limerick then notched seven of the final nine scores of the half.
It was a half in which Offaly hit six wides and Limerick just three.
One of the Offaly wides was an 18th minute penalty from Damien Egan, at a point when Limerick were 0-5 to 0-4 ahead.
Aaron Gillane had three pointed frees and a 10th minute Cian Lynch point from play and it was 0-4 each with 15-minutes played in front of an attendance of 4640.
Seamus Flanagan had the lead out to two points for the first time in the 16th minute.
Although Offaly levelled at 0-5 each, Limerick then found a run of three successive points – Paul Browne, Gillane (free) and Darragh O’Donovan.
Shane Kinsella replied for the home side but Limerick were now on top and Gillane from a free and from play and Gearoid Hegarty points had the lead out to 0-11 to 0-6 with half time approaching.
Diarmaid Byrnes was to have the final say with a long range effort to ensure a five point half time lead.
The second half was one-way traffic – especially when Offaly were reduced to 14-men after 11-minutes of the second half when wing back Dermot Shortt was sent off for a second yellow card offence.
Limerick had moved 0-15 to 0-8 clear by that stage.
Offaly were to score just twice in the remaining 25-odd minutes.
The Limerick goal came from Aaron Gillane in the game’s 42nd minute. The Patrickswell man finished from close range after sub Barry Murphy soloed forward.
SCORERS: Limerick: Aaron Gillane 1-8 (0-7frees), Darragh O'Donovan (1free), Gearoid Hegarty and Paul Browne 0-3 each, Diarmaid Byrnes 0-2, Cian Lynch, Seamus Flanagan, Tom Morrissey, David Reidy and Oisin O'Reilly 0-1 each. Offaly: Damien Egan 0-5 (3frees), Shane Kinsella 0-2 (1free), Daniel Currams, Tommy Geraghty and Colm Gath 0-1 each.
LIMERICK: Nickie Quaid (Effin); Sean Finn (Bruff), Seamus Hickey (Murroe-Boher), Richie English (Doon); Diarmaid Byrnes (Patrickswell), Dan Morrissey (Ahane), Paddy O’Loughlin (Kilmallock); Paul Browne (Bruff), Cian Lynch (Patrickswell); Tom Morrissey (Ahane), Darragh O’Donovan (Doon), Barry O’Connell (Kildimo-Pallaskenry); Aaron Gillane (Patrickswell), Seamus Flanagan (Feohanagh-Castlemahon), Gearoid Hegarty (St Patricks). Subs: Barry Murphy (Doon) for Barry O’Connell (52mins), David Reidy (Dromin-Athlacca) for Tom Morrissey (57mins), Oisin O’Reilly (Kilmallock) for Gearoid Hegarty (62mins), Andrew La Touche Cosgrave (Monaleen) for Cian Lynch (62mins), Lorcan Lyons (Monaleen) for Aaron Gillane (66mins).
OFFALY: Conor Slevin (Kilcormac Killoughey); Tom Spain (Brosna Gaels), Sean Gardiner (Lusmagh), Ben Conneely (St Rynaghs); David O'Toole (Shamrocks), Pat Camon (St Rynaghs), Dermot Shortt (St Rynaghs); David King (Coolderry), Shane Kinsella (Kinnitty); Damien Egan (Belmont), Colin Egan (Belmont), Dan Currams (Kilcormac Killoughey); Tommy Geraghty (Kilcormac Killoughey), Conor Mahon (Kilcormac Killoughey), Oisin Kelly (Belmont). Subs: Shane Dooley (Tullamore) for Tommy Geraghty (h-t), Cillian Kiely (Kilcormac Killoughey) for David King (45mins), Paddy Rigney (Kinnity) for Conor Mahon (56mins), Colm Gath (Drumcullen) for Oisin Kelly (61mins), Ciaran Cleary (Shinrone) for Colin Egan (61mins).
REFEREE: Sean Cleere (Kilkenny).